Devin Thomas not only said all the right things about his role in Sunday night’s game, he really seemed to sincerely mean them.
“I’m comfortable wherever coach puts me,” he said.
“You know, I just wanna do my part,” he said. Because I feel like we’re all brothers here.”
“I think we’ve got a great camaraderie, better than we had my last two years,” he said, “so I’m just gonna do my part. Whatever it is, I’m gonna do it.”
On Sunday night, “doing his part” meant playing on special teams. “I had a special teams day,” Thomas said, “so kick returns, punt return duty as far as being a jammer, and on kickoffs, you know, I just had to do my job. Those were my assignments today and I pulled it off.”
Pulled it off well, in fact. Thomas had two kickoff return opportunities, which he took for 34 and 42 yards, and in both cases it was Cowboys kicker David Buehler who brought him down — a fact that caused Thomas to chuckle in the locker room.
“They always tell us, ‘Don’t let the kicker bring you down,’” Thomas explained, then added, “But he used to play safety, so I don’t feel too bad.”
Running back Keiland Williams, getting dressed at a nearby locker, burst out laughing, as did much of the assembled media pack, but Thomas wasn’t kidding.
“You gotta do your research, baby,” Thomas said, smiling. ” You know, you gotta study film, you gotta know stuff about guys.”
Here’s what Thomas knew about Buehler: “He was a safety at USC, so he has ability to know how to maintain leverage and you can’t just juke him out of runs. And he’s fast, too! He runs, like, a 4.4.”
All of this is true. Buehler made some bloggy headlines during the offseason for beating Cowboys rookie defensive back DeAngelo Smith in a 50-yard dash, and followed that up by issuing a few quotes like this one, on if he could beat wide receiver Patrick Crayton in the 40:
“You know, I think I could; I think I could. Nothing against Patrick, you know, but I have confidence in my speed, too, so I think I could beat him. (Since Cowboys head coach Wade Phillips has banned ‘challenge races’) It probably won’t happen at practice, or anything like that; it’ll just need to be on the side.”
Even Keiland Williams checked in to make it clear that he wasn’t laughing out of skepticism. “[Buehler] really squeezed it well,” he said. “You got caught in it, wasn’t anything you could do.”
So Thomas is off the hook for those two — and the 76 total yards on two returns was still nothing to ignore. In fact, it prompted questions about when Thomas might see time with the offense, and Thomas answered them with the same sincere-sounding team-first attitude.
“We’ll see,” he said. “We’ll see. I’m just trying to show ‘em everything I can do; when I get the ball I feel like I can make a play. If that turns them on to having me come on to the offense, then I’m ready for it. But if I’m gonna stand back on kick return and just do that, then I’m fine with it. I’m just gonna do my part.”
Tags: Dallas Week, Devin Thomas
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